During my childhood, as an enthusiast of performing arts, I often attended dance classes. One day, I noticed that one of my dance teachers had a prominent outer edge on her big toe. At that moment, a very negative thought crossed my young, naive mind: those feet are so ugly, and I don't want mine to look like that. Since then, the image of my dance teacher's feet lingered in my mind, haunting me. It was my first encounter with defining ugliness in foot appearance. Soon after, I started practicing dance less and less to prevent my big toe from protruding like hers.
In my teenage years, due to more intense sports training, one day, I began experiencing severe pain on the inner side of my feet. When I examined my feet, I was horrified to find a red mark circling the outer side of my big toes, and they were starting to protrude. The image of my dance teacher's feet from my childhood suddenly flashed in my mind, and anxiety spread rapidly. I immediately called my mother, expressing my desire to see a bone doctor. After continuous requests, my mother took me for my first foot examination when I was 12. I vividly remember the doctor diagnosing, "You're still too young, and we can't confirm until your bones are fully grown. If you want to alleviate the pain, wear appropriate shoes."
Even since then, the dull pain in my feet persisted as I grew, and the outer side of my big toes protruded day by day. I started researching the medical name for this condition online. It was the first time I learned about Hallux Valgus, also called the Bunion, the medical term for my condition. Moreover, I discovered that it is often hereditary, affecting more than 90% of female patients.
After understanding my foot condition, I began inspecting the feet of elderly family members. Without exception, most women in my family had protruding big toes, and I pointed out that their foot genes were the source of my agony. Unable to change the genetic situation, I obsessively focused on whether shoes conformed to ergonomics and began to despise the inadequacies of the modern fashion industry of shoe design. I started to spend more money purchasing all sorts of pseudo-medical equipment in the market that claimed to treat or prevent bunions and wore them every day. Unfortunately, the results were difficult to accept—I couldn't prevent the protrusion of my big toes or alleviate the pain in my feet. As I grew older, I started to resent my feet increasingly; I found them ugly and was no longer willing to expose them in public.
In August of this year, I was diagnosed with approaching moderate Hallux Valgus, requiring prompt surgical intervention. The moment I received the X-ray images of my feet, my fears became tangible.